Tsaghkadzor (lit. "Gorge of Flowers") is a resort town located 60 km (37 mi) north-east from Yerevan, about 2 km (1.2 mi) above the sea level. The town has a mild climate, beneficial for health. It is also famous as Armenia's winter sports capital so it's a popular destination for winter sports lovers. You'll find a 6 km (4 mi) ropeway to the top of Mount Teghenis, sanatoriums, hotels and an Olympic sports complex in Tsaghkadzor.
There are 2 religious monuments in the town: Kecharis monastic complex and St Harutyoun church, on a walking distance from the each other.
Kecharis Monastic Complex
Kecharis monastic complex was founded when St Gregory the Illuminator built a church in 1033. The complex includes the following buildings:
- St Katoghike church (15th century),
- St Nshan church(11th century)
- St Gregory the Illuminator church (11th century)
- St Harutyun church (13th century)
Starting from the times of the first Armenian republic (1918 - 1920) wealthy Armenians from Yerevan and Tbilisi have established their summer houses and villas in Tsaghkadzor. In Soviet times these summer houses and villas were nationalized and turned into sanatoriums and spa resorts. Starting from the 2000s a new wave of developments made the town a more attractive destination thanks to its modernized infrastructure for sports and leisure.
The ropeway with modern standards and equipment will take you to the top of mount Teghenis in 32 minutes. At a height of 2820m (9552 ft), you'll watch vast territories spread in front of you like in your palm. The ascend is divided among 5 stations. You can move between the stations without taking off your equipment. Each cable car has 4 seats on the first ascend distance. From there on the cars have only 2 seats till the fifth station. There are cafes and bars along the route. During the winter season sports equipment (skiing, snowboarding) rental centers open up. To ensure the safety of winter sports enthusiasts first aid and training services are included. Working hours are from 9:30 am - 5:30 pm every day.
The legend has it that a Pahlavouni dynasty princess wanted a castle and a flower garden beside it where the world's most beautiful flowers would be grown. One day a gloomy storm encircled the gorge and violent winds blew away the flowers scattering them throughout the valley. The princess asked her father to build a monastery where priests would pray and return the scattered flowers. Thus the monastery called Kecharis was built and the gorge was named Tsaghka Dzor (Flowers' Gorge).
As with hotels, you have a number of choices of the restaurants in Tsaghkadzor. The one we've visited ourselves and would recommend you to give a try is called Yasaman. It is located on Orbeli brothers street not far from the museum. The interior was nicely decorated in the festive spirit of Christmas, staff was cheering and the food was tasty if a bit undercooked in the case of the steak:)